Just yesterday, Krauthammer published an article entitled "GOP Should Turn The Tables" wherein he argues that since the Democrats altered the filibuster rules to preclude the need for Cloture on presidential appointments, the GOP-led Senate should simply go ahead and eliminate the filibuster in its entirety. All from the guy that previously claimed the whole "Separation of Powers" and "Checks and Balances" intended by the Framers has been thrown into the garbage by then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Now it seems Krauthammer not only finds the action acceptable, but wants to go even further and destroy the practice even further. Think I jest? Back in December 2013, after Reid used the "Nuclear Option" of reforming the use of filibusters on most Judicial and Executive appointments, Krauthammer came out strongly condemning such action. In a Washington Post article "The Democrats' Outbreak of Lawlessness", Krauthammer attacks any move to diminish the role of the Filibuster:
"The violence to political norms here consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force — a near party-line vote of 52 to 48 . This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning. What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure." "A Senate with no rules. A president without boundaries. One day, when a few bottled-up judicial nominees and a malfunctioning health-care Web site are barely a memory, we will still be dealing with the toxic residue of this outbreak of authoritative lawlessness." (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-democrats-outbreak-of-lawlessness/2013/11/28/3184b6f2-579b-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html). Pretty strong language don't you think? Any attempt to allow the tradition of Presidents filling judicial and other executive positions without the constant imposition of an appointment killing filibuster is viewed by Krauthammer as "lawless." But why?
Because the GOP successfully tied up hundreds of presidential appointments in the Senate with the use of the filibuster. In fact, they successfully tied up multiple attempts to fill vacancies to the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals - the most important Appellate Court in the land (all major appeals are heard in this court as they relate to questionable legislative or executive action before it may lead directly to the Supreme Court). You see, this is the very same Court (lacking a full bench) that ruled Obama's recess appointments were "unconstitutional" declaring presidents alone cannot determine when Congress is in recess (even though no such standard exists under Article II granting the President Recess Appointment authority). Had the long-pending vacancies to that Bench been filled by Obama appointees, the decision would never have been made limiting the appointments (and Fox News and the GOP would have been denied another inflammatory claim that Obama routinely "disregards the Constitution.").
Since George Washington, presidents have routinely been granted confirmation of the people they select to fill positions. Only in the last 40 years have such appointments become a political game (and the Democrats are just as guilty of playing this game as Republicans). Only in late 2013, the Democrats moved to lower the threshold for confirming such appointments to 51 votes instead of the SuperMajority of 60 required by the filibuster rules ("Cloture"). And that sent Krauthammer and his fellow pundits "through the roof" of indignation and scorn - all for the absorption of their loyal unthinking supporters (honestly, every president since Reagan has supported a simple "up or down" vote on presidential appointments). So why the "hair on fire?" Because it eliminated the ability of the GOP to block ALL Obama appointments. Did Reid's action change the filibuster rules across the board? No. Only judicial and executive appointments. Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments along with all pending legislation still require a 60 SuperMajority in order to beat a filibuster. So why the sudden "change of heart" with Krauthammer and his ilk? Because the Democrats have begun to successfully block GOP legislation with the use of the filibuster (something used to perfection since 2008 by the GOP). Huh? Yes, the GOP is getting a taste of their own medicine. So now Conservative pundits like Krauthammer actively use the Democrats' action on judicial appointments as justification for eliminating the filibuster in its entirety. What happened to a "Senate with no rules?" "Lawlessness?" "Toxic Residue?" What is Krauthammer's position now?
"...Filibuster abolition is more than a one-shot proposition. It would radically change the next two years. It would give Republicans full control of the Congress and allow a swift passage of a GOP agenda." "It would also clarify the antagonists: A lawless president vs. a willful Congress." (See http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20150221/COLUMNIST/302219999/0/APJ?Title=Krauthammer-GOP-should-turn-the-tables). So when the Democrats alter rules to make the process work, it's "lawless" and "unacceptable". But when Krauthammer and his ilk see an opportunity to forever entrench their political party's agenda in Congress by eliminating the filibuster, it is to be considered going "bold."
And the obvious hypocrisy of Krauthammer and his supporters rings true now more than ever! As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once wrote; "The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea." And demanding action fit one political party while slamming all others for doing the same does get one lost in the swirling sea of hypocrisy. Have a great week!